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  1. #1
    Philip Ngai's Avatar
    Philip Ngai Guest

    Default pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Has anyone here run into pinhole leaks in copper water pipes? I have a coworker who has had 3 failures so far. The house is only ten years old. Several of his neighbors have had a similar experience. The builder's response was that the water recirculation pump (for hot water) was too powerful and downsized the pump.

    I am doubtful this will prevent any future failures.

    Their water comes from Zone 7 Water Agency in California if that makes any difference.

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  2. #2
    David McGuire's Avatar
    David McGuire Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Are these "pin holes" in the copper itself or the solder joints? Also, do you know if the copper tubing is from roll copper pipe or copper tubes? The copper pipe on a roll is thinner walled than tubes.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,340

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Well, here in Florida pinhole leaks in copper pipe are so bad no one uses it anymore. I don't know about CA plumping issues, or your propensity for pin holes to develop, but the problem is real.

    Dom.


  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    All the copper pipes I have inspected only had problems in the connection.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    The holes in copper can be from several reasons or a combination of them.
    *Low cost import copper from our favorite country China. It has very thin walls.
    *Mineral composition of the water.
    *Circulation pumps.

    The pumps actually push the water (with mineral deposits) through the pipes so hard that the dissolved minerals actually sandblast the pipe and wear the inside of the pipes to the point that they leak.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
    David McGuire's Avatar
    David McGuire Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    All the copper pipes I have inspected only had problems in the connection.

    Best

    Ron
    Generally thats where the problems occur. But in climates where there are freezes and thaws, the copper roll tubing, even when it is insulated has a greater risk of pinhole leaks over the copper pipe in 10" lengths. Again, its the wall diameter in this equation. The coiled or rolled copper tubing is cheaper because it is thinner walled. It is also more flexible because of that thinner wall and is why more plumbers use it. More flexible and longer lengths means less fittings. But the really good plumbers generally steer clear of coiled copper pipe.

    I have sweated copper and never had a leak one. Knock on wood.


  7. #7
    David McGuire's Avatar
    David McGuire Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    *Low cost import copper from our favorite country China. It has very thin walls.

    And we just thought they were trying to poison us with lead and defective drywall.


  8. #8
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
    mike huntzinger Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    I did an inspection where a fairly new home had a copper pipe failure due to the hold down was not copper and rusted the pipe in the ceiling, lots of damage from the leak.


  9. #9
    David McGuire's Avatar
    David McGuire Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Quote Originally Posted by mike huntzinger View Post
    I did an inspection where a fairly new home had a copper pipe failure due to the hold down was not copper and rusted the pipe in the ceiling, lots of damage from the leak.
    Yup, common problem around here too. Plumbers know better.


  10. #10
    Joe Bruin's Avatar
    Joe Bruin Guest

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    I had one in the main line from the meter to my house. LA DWP water.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    Probably the water.

    As Dom pointed out *some parts of* Florida have water which eats the copper piping up from the inside out, *other parts of* Florida have good water which does not do that and where copper piping is still used.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    DANIEL SNYDER's Avatar
    DANIEL SNYDER Guest

    Post Re: pinhole leaks in copper water pipes

    I have recently come across pinholes leaks in my research for work and a friend, on well water. The Maryland Dept. of Housing conducted a study that was finished in Dec. 2004. http://www.wsscwater.com/copperpipe/...erPlumbing.pdf

    There are several possible causes and any could be the reason for the corrosion. Higher than normal levels of chlorine and aluminum in the water have the most detrimental effect on the piping. Acid-based flux inside the pipe can also lead to pinholes. As much as I like to bash China, materials have not been the determining factor. Once the corrosion starts it can accelerate and spread. Bonding usually isn't the problem, as most inspections reveal that the bonding is per NEC where pinholes are present. There is a potential for ground leakage from appliances connected to copper pipe. Recirculator pumps can lead to corrosion, but because they keep the problem water moving through the pipes. Stagnant water sitting in pipes can also cause corrosion, depending on the levels of minerals in the water. Larger homes with fewer occupants seem to have a higher than normal occurrence of corrosion. As do homes or condos that have been vacant for an extended period of time. Some research has shown that if the system is thoroughly flushed after completion, a mineral layer will begin to form on the interior wall of the pipe and protect it from any impurities in the water.


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